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Homeless people share their life stories: Rebecca, Andrew, Elle, Melissa and sk8r rat.

Youth Ministry Resources - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year B: Mk1:40-45 - Jesus cures a leper - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lepers are mentioned in both the Hebrew Testament and the New Testament and while Hansen's disease was known; the term 'leper' also included people suffering from psoriasis and other skin diseases. In a culture frequently delineated by what was considered 'clean and unclean' many people experienced alienation and social exclusion and were marginalised across all strata of society.

It must have taken a great deal of bravery for the leper to approach Jesus and yet we hear that he was confident Jesus would help him. The healing takes place by touch and word and we gain insights into the disposition of Jesus who showed so many deep feelings that our English language fails us again.

The Greek word used is splangchnistheis meaning that Jesus was moved to the depths of his very being and the strength of his emotions finds expression in 'groaning' because of the desperate state of the leper - both physically and socially. And so we have the picture of the essence of goodness, holiness and godliness stretching out his healing hand to the epitome of the other extreme, a man who was completely shunned by society.

Jesus was really asking the impossible of the cured leper not to tell anyone about Jesus and his healing - it would have been like being reborn, being given a whole new chance in life and so it would be impossible for the leper to restrain that joy and so Jesus' fame as a healer spread far and wide.

Every moment of every day we are offered the same access to Jesus that the leper enjoyed. At any time we can access God's healing and love - all we have to do is to recognise the leper in ourselves and sometimes that is the hardest thing we can do. Too often we can readily tell of other people's problems and how they make our lives difficult but really we too need healing

We might not have the physical signs of leprosy but we do have some open wounds that we try and cover with the gauze of denial or feign indifference to the pain we are carrying which only leads to something that festers and limits our ability to be the amazing creature that God created us to grow into.

Cate Mapstone

6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Over the last few weeks, Jesus has outlined his mission and called disciples. Today Jesus preaches to those who would belong to God's Kingdom or Basileia. This is an upside down kingdom that reverses so many expectations, and challenges the hearers of this Word to join the Reign of God movement. Jesus was speaking to an ancient Mediterranean people who were defined by core values of honour and shame. To be poor was a situation of shame. With each Beatitude, Jesus empowers each group mentioned.

This empowerment gives positive public recognition for this group. Luke is not extolling poverty but praising God who has a special love for the unfortunate. Poor people are now being told the Kingdom of God is theirs. Jesus is not declaring a social class blessed - the blessed condition comes from the Kingdom. Jesus explains to those who are listening that "the poor of God" are those who acknowledge their need for salvation. The 'woes' are addressed to would be disciples who have possessions. They have decisions to make about how they distribute their possessions.

This is to be the way of life for disciples and includes the command to "love thy enemies". There are also two warnings that the cost of discipleship may be high. What would Jesus be saying to us if we were to sit down together? What are the core values of our society? How would Jesus challenge us? One area might be regarding our possessions. Do we place a higher value on our possessions or on the people around us? How do we use our time? Is it taken up by television, computers, consumerism and gossip? Or do we choose to spend time in prayer each day. Do we recognise "the poor" in ourselves?

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Youth Ministry Resources 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time